Update of activities in Washington DC by the Administration and Congress. The notes below are a collection of information I receive from various sources. The situation is very fluid so you may find some changes in the information below and information you hear in the news or read on the web.
Continuing Resolution information
“After the House and Senate passed the measure last week, President Barack Obama signed into law a bill March 2 that will keep the federal government operating through March 18, temporarily averting a shutdown while a longer-term spending plan is negotiated.
House Republicans rejected a late bid to stretch the extension to 30 days and passed (335-91) the short term continuing resolution last Tuesday, with the Senate following (91-9) the following day, just two days before the previous CR was set to expire March 4. The measure will continue current funding for most programs, while also cutting $4 billion from the FY2011 levels; the final cuts represented a compromise as they were drawn primarily from President Obama’s own budget blueprint. It also did not contain any of the policy riders included in the longer CR passed by the House last month.
The House passed a seven-month bill (H.R. 1) in February that contained $61 billion in cuts from the fiscal year 2010 budget, roughly $100 billion from the requested FY 2011 levels, and last week Senate Democrats released their own version of the funding proposal that includes $51 billion in reductions from the president’s proposed fiscal year 2011 budget. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced March 4 that the Senate will consider both the House-passed measure and the recently introduced Senate proposal this week. A cloture vote on a motion to proceed to H.R. 1 could occur as early as March 8. – from email sent from David Leiter of MLStrategies, 3/7/2011.”
“On Friday afternoon, Senate Democrats released an outline of their initial offer on a long-term continuing resolution (CR). There are some cuts in the Senate proposal, but generally the bill would fund student aid and nearly all research programs at higher levels than the CR proposed by the House in H.R. 1. However, the Senate bill offers lower than current operating levels for some key research agencies and accounts (see below for further analysis and links to Senate documents).
The Senate is expected to take up both H.R. 1 and the Senate FY2011 proposal this week. Conventional wisdom indicates neither bill will pass the Senate, setting the stage for negotiations between the House, the Senate, and the White House to proceed in earnest. It is likely another short-term CR will be necessary before a final FY2011 bill can be enacted.” – from email sent from APLU President Peter McPherson 3/7/2011
Senate Bill Compared to H.R. 1 Pell Grant
In the Senate bill, the maximum Pell Grant award would remain $5550 and the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG) would be funded at $757 million. In H.R. 1, the Pell Grant maximum award would be cut to $4,705 and SEOG would be eliminated. .” – from email sent from APLU President Peter McPherson 3/7/2011
On the research front, an initial analysis and comparison indicates the Senate proposal would keep the :
||House – H.R. 1
||Cut $1.6 billion from 2010
||Cut $20 million from 2010
||Cut $359 million
|DOE Office of Science
||Cut $171 million from 2010
||Cut $890 million from 2010
||Funded at $200 million
||Funded at $50 million
|USDA – NIFA
||Funded at $1.285 billion
||Funded at $1.142 billion
|Within NIFA -AFRI
||Increase $17.5 million from 2010
||Cut $34.7 million from 2010
|Nation Endowment for Humanities
||Funded at $167.5 million
||Funded at $145 million
National Institutes of Health (NIH) virtually at the FY2010 level while the House-passed bill would cut NIH by $1.6 billion from FY2010.
The Senate bill would cut the National Science Foundation (NSF) by $20 million and the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science by $171 million while H.R. 1 would cut NSF by $359 million and DOE Office of Science by $890 million from FY2010.
The DOE Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) would be funded at $200 million in the Senate bill and $50 million in H.R. 1.
For agriculture research, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) would be funded at $1.285 billion in the Senate proposal compared to $1.142 billion in the House-passed bill, both lower than the FY2010 level of $1.358 billion. Within NIFA, the Senate bill would increase the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) by $17.5 million while H.R. 1 would decrease AFRI by $34.7 million compared to the FY2010 level of $262.5 million. The Senate bill would fund the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) at $167.5 million, $22.5 million more than H.R. 1.
A summary document is available on the Senate Appropriations Committee website. Summaries of each section and the entire legislative text also are available
– from email sent from APLU President Peter McPherson 3/7/2011
Information regarding Energy Issues – March 7, 2011
ARPA-E Funding Approval Unlikely
Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) told participants of the ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit March 1 that Congress is not likely to approve President Obama’s $550 million budget request for the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy. The agency, which funds the research and development of risky long-term energy projects and is a top priority of Energy Secretary Steven Chu, was provided $389 million in stimulus funding in 2009, and is authorized at $306 million for fiscal year 2010. – from email sent from David Leiter of MLStrategies, 3/7/2011.
Conrad Calls for Energy Legislation
During a committee hearing on the president’s fiscal year 2012 budget request for the Department of Energy, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND) said March 2 that passage of broad energy legislation and strong deficit reduction measures should be the top priorities for the 112th Congress. Energy Secretary Steven Chu defended the administration’s $29.5 billion budget request for the department, a $3.1 billion increase, as a necessary investment in new technologies. He also talked about the importance of hastening the loan guarantee process and the need for a clean energy standard – from email sent from David Leiter of MLStrategies, 3/7/2011.
Climate Office Dissolved
Heather Zichal, President Obama’s new top aide on climate and energy policy, said last week that the White House climate and energy office will be dissolved into the Domestic Policy Council, with everyone staying except Carol Browner, who is expected to leave mid-month. The staff of six will focus on the clean energy agenda President Obama laid out in his State of the Union speech. – from email sent from David Leiter of MLStrategies, 3/7/2011.
DOE and DOD Collaborate on Storage Project
The departments of Energy and Defense announced March 2 that they will collaborate to develop a grid-scale energy storage device for future defense systems. The joint effort, to be initiated in fiscal year 2012, will use the technological expertise of the Energy Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy, and will be funded by approximately $25 million, pending congressional approval, from both of the agencies over five years. – from email sent from David Leiter of MLStrategies, 3/7/2011.